JOSEPH WAS SOLD AS A SLAVE. THEY AFFLICTED
HIS FEET…IN IRONS [Ps.105:17, 18]
Beloved Joseph, favored and blessed by his father, was yet
jealously despised by his brothers [Gen.37:3, 4]. Loved by
a father, hated by brethren. It is a grievous burden to bear.
Daily tumult, cold glaring disdain, and biting bitter tones
afforded no peace in Josephâ€™s tent. God speaks and the grief
intensifies. The word from heaven further alienates their estranged
hearts. Love and truth they would have none of. Joseph partook of
Wherein is comfort? Without? Surely not there amidst his
hostile home. When the truth came, even the father himself withdrew
his affection upon hearing the news [Gen.37:9, 10].
Joseph was left alone with the truth. God had spoken. Therein is comfort though the promised fulfillment was long delayed.
What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and
your and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before
you? [Gen.37:10]. Horrific anguish lay between the glad light of that
initial promise and its final realization.
The heart knows its own bitterness and a stranger does not
share its joy [Prov.14:10]. It is what Joseph knew, plodding along, a
confounded captive across scorching sands. Unwanted property,
worth but 20 shekels [Gen.37:28], he was then sold a second time to
his foreign master [Gen.37:36]. There he bowed to all with none
bowing to him.
Nothing pointed to the realization of Godâ€™s word of promise.
A numbness of grief creeps over the soul during Godâ€™s delays.
Answers there are not, only the mocking bleakness of a hollow
Yet the Lord was with him [Gen.39:2]. It is so with all His
own; never left, never forsaken [Heb.13:5] though they be cast into
dismal pits in jealous rage. Victims of treacherous scorn and hateful
envy are not abandoned by their God.
Even if forcibly assaulted by lustful crime, God is there
[Gen.39:7-10]. See Joseph flee and suffer for it. Vilified, traitorously
maligned, and falsely charged, the righteous one was bound in a
dungeon of injustice. But the Lord was with Joseph [Gen.39:21].
Unknown to him, he was imprisoned in the Lordâ€™s training
ground. It was here, amidst shattered dreams and woeful sorrows, that
he became what he must to ascend the throne. The chief jailer
committed to Josephâ€™s charge all the prisoners in the jail; so that
whatever was done there, he was responsible [Gen.39:22].
Sympathy for sufferers is gained in Potipharâ€™s prison. Small
responsibilities faithfully discharged fit the soul for greater
undertakings. He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also
in much [Lk.16:10].
Joseph was molded by affliction to look to God alone for
favor, wisdom, and deliverance. God had spoken and Joseph must
wait. No man can force or hasten the hand of Him who has
promised. The realization of the pledge lies in the will and good
pleasure of the Promiser.
The Lord was with him [Gen.39:23]. What more is needed?
Are God and His Word sufficient for us? Will we endure the dungeon even delighting in the delays?
We all will meet our cupbearer in the midst of sorrow. â€œPerhaps he can help,â€? trembles our anxious thoughts. Remember me…mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house
A certain elation of anticipated relief revitalizes the wearied
soul with a bright expectation. â€œSoon, yes, very soon now, the bitter
shall pass. Surely it is well now,â€? imagines our feeble restless heart.
But it is not to be so. The cupbearer did not remember
Joseph, but forgot him [Gen.40:23]. Two long years yet remained
[Gen.41:1]. Initial days were full of eager anticipation with scenarios
imagined and then abandoned for yet another explanation to
encourage waning hope.
Days stretched into dismal weeks with no word of relief. A
certain cloud of despair settles over the soul whose earthly hopes have
been crushed. Grim are the cheering rays of sunrise to the grieving
Cupbearers are a refuge of straw against hurling tempests of
sorrow. They cannot effect what only the Keeper of your soul can
[Ps.121]. Despite our schemes and earnest pleading, we will abide the
full duration of the Lordâ€™s design for our individual distress.
Until the time that His Word came to pass, the Word of the
Lord tested him [Ps.105:19]. Tested â€“ God has spoken, will we
believe Him though nothing in our situation would encourage us to
do so? Tested â€“ Is His wisdom and design good, acceptable, and
perfect? Tested â€“ Can the evil devices of men actually be servants to
Him who is Sovereign over the affairs of this life?
God was with him and delivered him out of all his afflictions
[Acts 7:9, 10]. The Word of the Lord cannot fail. Deliverance will yet
come after sorrow has done its work.
Humiliation must crush all thoughts of grandeur. Rejection
by men teaches the soul to cast itself upon the love of God alone.
Unjust betrayal fits a man to commit all into the hands of Him who
judges righteously. Schemes aborted lead the heart to distrust its own
devices. At oneâ€™s wits end is designed to open the fount of Wisdom
above. Bitter dungeons are endured to purge the soul of bitterness
Character, not comfort, is the aim of afflictions sent from
above. They marvelously worked in Joseph. He emerged from his
sorrows fit for the throne. Hear his own testimony.
God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction
[Gen.41:52]. Hear his assessment of evils heaped upon him by
brothersâ€™ jealous malice. It was not you who sent me here, but God
[Gen.45:8]. Listen to his final conclusion at the end of it all. God
meant it for good [Gen.50:20].
Joseph â€“ beloved, hated, exalted. It is what lies between the
first and the last which occupies our years of grief below. It could be
no other way if the end is to be realized.